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Author's note: I do not own Gundam Wing or its characters. This is for the 30 Kisses challenge using list eta. This is AU. Theme 24: Fatal Error.

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                                                Possession

She didn’t know how it had come to this. Noin tried to breathe shallowly and keep the tears of pain from falling. Zechs had her tucked up against his chest, one hand pressing his jacket to the bullet wound to slow her bleeding. It wasn’t a fatal wound, but it hurt like hell, and she was afraid that she was going to be out of the field for a while with this injury, and that was how she had gotten in this position in the first place. At least the position he had her in kept the body out of her field of vision. She couldn’t deal with that right now.

Zechs kissed the top of her head. “Sally and the medical team are on their way. It won’t be much longer.”

“Sorry,” she whispered.

His grip on her tightened. “It’s not your fault, sweetheart. How were you supposed to know? Just stay with me, okay?”

Noin doubted she was in danger of passing out, but she didn’t want to make Zechs more worried than he already was and let him fuss over her. He already felt guilty enough. He had been off on a mission with Duo and Quatre when it all had started. She had been stuck with desk work for two months while her sprained ankle healed. It had been perfectly innocent to start out with.

She had gone to meet Relena for lunch and arrived early, at the tail end of Relena’s meeting. As the various diplomats filed out of Relena’s office, one of them stopped and introduced himself as Christopher Lighton. Noin knew the name; he was one of the new rising stars in politics these days. She had made polite small talk with him until Relena was ready to go.

It hadn’t seemed odd when he chatted with her whenever their paths crossed after that. Besides, Noin had other things to worry about. As she was the most senior Preventer not assigned to fieldwork, Une had given her the task of finally get a training program put together for their new recruits. They had been hiring people like the Gundam pilots up until now, but eventually they would be taking in raw recruits.

And then she started getting flowers. First it was at work, beautiful bouquets of roses and lilies. Noin had figured they were from Zechs until the third bouquet arrived. Zechs was never this extravagant, and the more she thought about it the less the extravagant bouquets seemed his style. She had been getting flowers for two weeks when they started arriving at home as well as at work.

That bothered her. The loft she and Zechs shared was one of their better kept secrets. While they were public servants, they were also rather private people, and their home was their sanctuary. Its location was known to a trusted few, and that was it. For flowers from an unknown sender to be arriving there was an invasion of her privacy that she did not like at all.

With the flowers arriving at her home came another unwelcome feeling. Noin was almost certain someone was watching her. She hadn’t been able to catch them at it, but she knew the feeling of eyes following her every movement rather well. The sensation didn’t show up in the office, but whenever she went out, it followed her. It had yet to invade work or the loft, but it was enough to make Noin worried. And she couldn’t report it without any evidence. She would sound pretty silly reporting that no she hadn’t seen anyone following her but she thought they were. It would be a great way to end up at a psych evaluation.

So Noin kept quiet and started keeping track of everything that even remotely seemed odd. She didn’t think she was being that paranoid, and when the gifts started arriving, she finally had something to actually report. At first they were fairly normal romantic gifts, chocolates and other candies. Then they progressed to more intimate items: lingerie and jewelry. It was actually fairly expensive jewelry if far to gaudy for her tastes.

Zechs had arrived home about then. He had known something was wrong from her welcome home. She had practically collapsed in his arms.

“Love?”

“When we get home,” she sighed. “I want to keep this quiet for now.”

He frowned but kept his peace until they had reached home. Noin had made tea and then began laying things out from the very beginning. By the time she was finished, she was curled up in Zechs’ lap, her head tucked under his chin and his arms tightly around her.

“I don’t like this. There’s nothing to trace. The purchases were made online and paid for with cash. There’s no paper trail, electronic or otherwise. Whoever is doing this is professional. And there’s nothing to indicate if this is personal against me or if it’s part of something bigger.” She sighed. “I know someone is watching me. I just can’t prove it.”

Zechs hugged her tightly. “It’ll be all right. He has to mess up sometime. When he does, we’ll be ready.”

And just like that she had gained an overprotective presence at her side at nearly every moment. It would have annoyed her except Noin was beginning to get seriously concerned. Something had to happen soon to up the ante. The stalker had been escalating from the start, and for nothing to change would be a break in the pattern. Logically, the next step for the stalker to take would be make things more personal, either by giving her evidence that she was being watched or finding some other way to contact her.

Except, nothing happened. And it unnerved her. Noin spent the next few days waiting for something to happen. Maybe it was Zechs’ presence or maybe the stalker had just lost interest, but Noin didn’t like not knowing what was yet to come. And so when Mr. Lighton had requested to go over conference security plans with a Preventer, it had seemed like a good distraction. The meeting would be in Relena’s office building after all, and that was one of the safest places to be.

Zechs had been running late, so she had arrived alone. And she had walked right into a trap. Noin had barely entered then man’s office before she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.

“How could you? I thought you were different, special.”

She had no idea what he was ranting about. Noin tried backing towards the door.

“Don’t! Don’t think you can get away with it. I saw you with him.”

She stopped moving.

“I don’t understand.” She needed to keep him talking. Zechs was on his way here, and then she’d have back up. She didn’t dare go for the gun in her purse until she had some sort of a distraction. “Who are you talking about?”

He snarled at her. “Don’t play dumb. I thought you were perfect. Beautiful, intelligent, modest, everything I needed in a wife to complete my image. But then you shack up with that murderer, and I realized that you were just a common whore. After all, who else would put up with that monster.”

Noin bit back her normal reaction to his words; she couldn’t afford to loose her temper right now. A mistake could get her killed. There was noise behind her, and Noin waited for an opportunity she could use. Her gun was in her purse due to the security check at the building entrance, but it was loaded.

“Can’t we talk about this?” she stalled. “I didn’t realize you felt that way about me.”

“It’s too late for that. You’ve already made your bed. Now you have to sleep in it.”

The door behind her was opening. Noin’s hand dove into her purse as a shot rang out. Her shoulder was on fire, but that didn’t stop her automatic reaction. A second shot rang out, and Lighton dropped. A pair of hands caught her as she slumped towards the floor, and Heero flashed by, moving to check on Lighton.

“He’s dead. I’ll call Sally.”

Zechs’ hands were gentle. “Are you hurt anywhere besides your shoulder?”

“No.”

“Good.”

She didn’t know how she could have walked into this. She was an experienced professional. She’d worked cases like this in the past, and still she walked into this.

“Noin?” Sally was kneeling beside them now. “Let me take a look.”

Noin closed her eyes, leaning into Zechs a little more. His arms tightened, and she felt safe. He murmured something into her hair about not worrying and how it was all over. She smiled despite the pain, knowing that she had nothing to worry about as long as he was there.
#24 - Fatal Error - How had Noin missed the signs?
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